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November 25, 2014

The Epic Canvas

Text by Huzan Tata

Revisit the Ramayana through celebrated artist Jayasri Burman’s latest artworks that combine painting and sculpture to portray the epic story

Jayasri Burman, known for portraying Bengali tradition and Indian mythology through her art, is out with Lila, a new show of paintings and sculptures. Over 35 works are a part of the exhibition, the central piece being a large bronze mural depicting tales from the Ramayana. A painting of the same theme complements this mural, and the remaining pieces revolve around these two artworks, merging into one another. Mythical creatures that perpetuate life and love are central to Burman’s storytelling, and are an important part of her paintings.

5 Questions with the artist, Jayasri Burman

  1. Artistic Motivations “The memory of my upbringing includes my father waking me up in the morning, taking me in his arms and chanting slokas. These chants, and the melody in their rhythm, the moral in their meaning, have stayed on with me…. Art has been the foundation and guiding light of trying to understand myself and my surroundings better. It is the source through which I explore my world of imagination and fantasy.”
  2. Inspirations “I hail from India…and there is inspiration everywhere we look. The entire idea of a festival revolves around people in a celebration and performance. This idea of celebration [is] my inspiration – colours, people, nature – everything has a story. [Being from] Bengal, I have mainly drawn my inspiration from Kalighat paintings and Patachitra (the folk art of Bengal). There is a simplicity and charm in their narratives with which they represent the social issues of their times.”
  3. On the wall at home “If I could, I would love to have Van Gogh’s Wheatfield on my wall. The infinite pleasure of the gradient shades is soothing. If I am allowed to be brutally honest and wildly imaginative, I would also love the pleasure of Boticelli’s exceptional visuals of Birth of Venus, and of course the lyrics of a Marc Chagall canvas.”
  4. Concerns that find place in your art “Love, peace and harmony are the main things I would like to highlight to the anxiety-ridden contemporary world…I also intend to locate the importance of the Mother and the Child in contemporary society. I see the figure of the mother like a tree, a giver, a nurturer. It is very important for us to look after the same tree lest it withers away.”
  5. If you weren’t an artist, you would be… “I [have] never thought of anything other than painting all my life. However, if I had to do without being an artist, I would perhaps be a writer, or a dancer. I would basically be weaving stories of and from life.”

Lila will be on view at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai from November 25 – 30, 2014 and at Art Musings, Mumbai from December 1 – 31, 2014.    

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